I’ll admit, between the title of this post and the accompanying image I’ve chosen, I may be guilty of making today’s post seem a bit more… titillating than it really is.
After all, most people won’t consider my topic even remotely sexy.
I mean, I guess it is something you could do in bed. But I usually do it on a desk.
I’m talking about Outlining.
Wait! Before you recoil in horror, and click away from this page in search of some more twitterific subject matter, let me clarify what I’m talking about, as well as what I’m not talking about. I’ll start by trying to address some potential objections you may have.
No Roman numerals required
First, let me assure you that I am NOT talking about those arduously complex multi-level lists that you were forced to learn in school, with all those Roman numerals and tricky formatting rules. No, I’m talking about an extremely simple tool you can put together in a matter of minutes.
And – this may surprise you – you don’t need to do it before you write. In fact, I find outlining much more useful during the writing process and afterward, when editing and revising.
Second, I am aware that many writers are “pantsers” (people who write by the seat of their pants), to whom the notion of plotting or outlining seems both unnatural and highly unpleasant – a sort of literary root canal that sucks any fun and creativity out of the writing process. But I’ve found a few ways that an outline can be extremely helpful even to pantsers, particularly when encountering the dreaded writer’s block. [Read more…]